Rise of the Savage Runelords

03 - Cold, dead merchants... (continued)

Logan looked over his shoulder at the motley bunch behind him and winced, wishing not so much that he were back home, more that these guys just weren’t here. This group had taken ‘lesser of two evils’ to new extremes.

He turned to face Pagor and leaned closer to him, lowering his voice.
“So you are expecting to be staying here in sandpoint for a while, yes?” he said quietly.
“I expect that calls for a celebration” interrupted the elf. “Drinks on you when we get back?”
Logan grimaced and decided talking quieter only made people listen more closely.
“Free beer? Aye, sounds good!” belched the dwarf, his ears ever keen when food or drink was on the table. “You buying then?” Nighthorn added.

Pagor looked back and shook his head, “Well, I told you already that was one free lunch. I can’t afford any more”

“Dwarf, Nightthorn….” Logan looked behind him for a minute, then drew a hammer and smashed a hole in a crate in the wagon. “SHADDUP!”

Tia leaned over and drew Nighthorn’s indignant attention to something in the back of the cart. Presumably, the contents of the crate…

“So, as I was saying, you intend to stay in town?”

Pagor nodded. “I was thinking so.”

Logan nodded. “I thought so. Well, no doubt you being a friend of Ameiko’s, you would be expecting to stay at the Rusty Dragon eh?”

“Well, we do go back a long way. I was going to ask if she had a room spare, yes.”

Logan looked thoughtfully ahead of them. “Well, she would, of course, turn out a room for you. Probably Rhula’s, actually. But I don’t think this is such a good idea yes?”

Pagor looked confused for a second. “I don’t follow you.”

Logan patted the Orcs arm reassuringly. “Look, look, I’ve seen you handle yourself and you can look after yourself without resorting to, shall we say, typical Orcish tactics. Ameiko says you are trusty and that is enough for me to be convinced, that’s why I’ve brought you along with us, try to make you feel at home, eh?”

“Yes, very exciting, thanks..”

Logan looked earnest. “But look here, until you earn yourself a reputation in this town you will scare children, you will scare customers and you won’t be welcome in the town. Neither will the people that do business with you.”

“What are you trying to say Logan?”

“He says you’re a filthy c*nt” Drek offered.

Logan picked up a broken piece of crate and threw it at the dwarf.

“Ameiko is a respected business woman and since the unfortunate deaths of her family, "

“Brutal and very bloody… " Nighthorn added

“And since the unfortunate deaths, she is now the head of her family, and she doesn’t realise she has a more important role to play. She is a very proud woman and she is fiercely independant,” Logan continued

“Aye, a fiesty one that.” Drek mumbled.

“Spirited, for a woman whose entire family were horribly brutally murdered I think” Nighthorn was now ignoring Tia’s attempts to keep him entertained.

“Aye, aye” Drek slurred. “Word is she goes like a shit house door when the plagues in town…”

Pagor and Logan both looked fondly lost in thought for a minute, then both shook their heads clear.

“In any case. She is the kind of woman who would defy all townsfolk who thought it would be a mistake to have you in her tavern, a well respected and high quality establishment, which has…” Logan glanced at the people in the back “.. Uh.. Generally well respected clientele… Anyway.. Not the sort of people who would stick around in a bar where an Orc was known to be staying.”

“Well, I do get treated a bit off, I guess” Pagor nodded thoughtfully.

“Yes, yes.. People don’t see the real you, they just see a savage Orc.
Ameiko wouldn’t ever think she could turn you away and would possibly lose her business sticking to her principles.”

“She is the sort” Pagor nodded.

“Yes, so of course, with all the trouble with the family politics and the vacuum her family have left behind, and all the worries of the glassworks and everything, Ameiko would ruin her standing in the town if you stayed. She absolutely must think that you’ve already got somewhere to stay and it’s somewhere where you want to stay, rather than at the Rusty Dragon. I would think if you really cared about her, and I can tell that you do,”

“Yeah I do”

“Well, then I think you, hiding a thoughtful mind underneath that helmet, would see it’s is for the best for Ameiko that you stay somewhere more.. suitable.. Say the Fat Man’s Feedbag?… When youre reputation improves a little, maybe stay at the White Stag, this is where I stayed when I came to town… "

“I don’t know,” Pagor pondered

“Look at it another way,” Logan leaned closer “If you stay at the same Tavern as the guys in the back, they will bleed your purse dry for free food and drink. They will bankrupt you in days…”

Pagor looked back at the elf, giving him a toothy grin and a thumbs up… and at the Dwarf, leaning over scratching his backside and muttering something about having had to leave his last ‘deposit’ half way through.

As the wagon rocked and swayed down the Lost Coast Road, the night drew closer and the rain became a downpour. The conversation gave way to hunkering down miserably to find some shelter from the cascade of water sheeting down from the heavens.

The ancient road hugged the coastline for several miles. The waves crashed against the tall cliffs far below and the seagulls screamed their fury at the dark skies. Ahead, the sporadic lightning gave glimpses of a large imposing building built out on a tall bluff. The road curved around and then headed inland, leaving the roar of the sea behind quickly.

“What was that place?” Pagor asked Logan.
“I’m not sure, perhaps I will ask Ameiko when we return.”
“Or I could ask her…”

Logan turned and fixed a look at Pagor.

“Perhaps you could. But it will be easier for me, as I live at the rusty Dragon, while you will be speaking to the Fat Man about lodgings, won’t you?”

Pagor ignored the stare and kept his eyes fixed on the road ahead. He grunted once noncommittally and the conversation ended.

The road headed further inland, a brooding forest a constant companion on the north side of the road, to the south, wide open fields and meadows full of late-season crops ready for harvest.

After several more miles, Pagor pulled the wagon up and looked at a carefully painted wooden sign that read “Saintly Haven of Respite”. Pagor grunted and turned the wagon onto the narrow track.

The corrupt and depraved duergar was almost chirpy as night closed in. Those with the misfortune of spending time with Drek knew how he despised that burning orb and the daylight it created.

Something Logan had said gave him pause though, the thought of missing out on the interrogation spurs the corpulent cleric into something resembling action. Drek scrambles to the front of the cart and fixes Logan with that now familiar dead fish eye stare.

“Listen ‘ere longshank. This crackpot knows a thing or two about my murdered merchants and he’s gonna spill … one way or the other.”

Drek rummages around and finally recovers the stolen clerical garb. He killed that sap months ago and it showed; the clobber was caked in filth and foulness. Struggling to stretch the vestments over his bloated gut he turns to the warden and grins a vile and murderous grin.

“I am Ramel Ramelson, the Chosen of Yilas Frosthammer”

An amber light plays across those strange white eyes for a heartbeat, dancing like flames in furnace.

“You’ll get your turn Dwarf. Lady Tia and I need to speak to the boy first, get some sense out of him. Once we’re done, you get whatever…
else.. you need. But I’m not sure you want to be talking to him about your own ‘business’ with the rest of us in the room, eh?”

Logan doth raise an eyebrow and fix the short prossie-poo-bin a knowing look.

The slaver priest nods and chews his beard thoughtfully for a moment.

“Aye, right you are Logan… so long as The God gets his pound of flesh.”

“Well, I doubt very much the boy did this, but maybe he saw who, or rather what, did. Then all we need to do is find it and not die trying to kill it. That’s why we’ll release the squinty eyed man tomorrow. Mad though he is, he can handle a blade well.”

The wagon pulled up outside the squat, stone building that serves as the sanatorium. The sanatorium comprised three floors under a stout stone-flagged roof, which was built in the lee of the limestone escarpment known as Ashen Rise. There was a brisk sense of cleanliness and order that filled the area, and despite the rain there was a somewhat sour smell of burning incense somewhere nearby.

The heroes headed to the large wooden front door and pulled the bell chain. After a short time, well-maintained bolts could be heard being slid free and the door swung open. A sombre looking man, mid-thirties with black hair and dark rings under his eyes looked at the party expectantly.

“How may I help you?” He looked at the dwarf, nodded simply and looked up at Logan. “You are here seeking respite care for an unfortunate soul I take it?”

“Actually, I was hoping we could see Rayste Sevilla, a young man brought in here in the last couple of days.”

The man tilted his head to one side “It really is beginning to get a bit late for visitation, sir, and with respect you don’t much look like family”

“I am here assisting the town guard in an investigation into some recent murders. Lady Tia here and I work in the interests of the town militia, the mayor and the church. The other three here are…
people… who… come along to these things…”

“Do yer reckon any of the inmates here are lookin fer gainful employment?” Drek said to the custodian.

“Ah, you are the heroes of Sandpoint aren’t you?.. Well, you must come in, come in”

Logan thanked the man and they all entered the main hall, in from the rain. Logan leaned closer and said “Lady Tia and I should like to speak to the man first, on our own. I’m not sure the others should be involved, at least for our first discussion. We may want the Elf in later but we need to figure out his state of mind, since if it’s too fragile, the Elf may drive him over the edge completely…” Logan nodded reassuringly. “Perhaps they could get a tour or see some other, lower risk patients… they would probably enjoy that.”

“Ahem, a tour? I think not…this is a centre for respite and care. Not a tourist attraction!” The orderly says primly. “There is a waiting room through here. I will call Master Habe who will no doubt wish to accompany you during your interview. For the record, I very much doubt you will glean anything useful from Rayste, he is a very sick man and not terribly cogent.”

The orderly waved in the direction of an austere room with several benches and chairs arranged in a circle and then scurried away…

A few minutes later he returned with a very clean, simple looking gentleman in his late fifties. He smells strongly of lavender soap and smiles without it ever reaching his eyes.

“My name is Master Habe, I understand you are with the Sandpoint town guard and wish to interview a patient? I must say, it is very inconvenient and I resent my work being interrupted like this.”

He put his hands on his hips and looks expectantly at you.

Tia steps forward and with her best smile says, “Erm…yes…our investigations into a bout of murders leads us to believe that Rayste is a very important witness. The interruption is unavoidable but we do apologise. It would be greatly appreciated if we could see Rayste without delay.”

Master Habe sighed and indicated the heroes should follow him. Leading the way he talks excitedly about his most interesting patient…

--x——

Sorry guys, did want to write a whole scene but time has slain me today…so here’s a somewhat less than ideal information dump that you get from Master Habe and/or talking to Grayste himself…

- Grayste Sevilla was brought in by the town guard after he attacked a routine patrol…all the signs of mental illness… - Grayste is found crouching in the corner of his cell, sobbing and screaming. His skin is pale and looks gangrenous, his eyes milky and his wild. Its obvious that he’s very sick and actually close to death…closer than you would expect in a place of healing and respite in fact… - Closer examination, especially by Rhula and/or Tia leads to the almost certainty that he is suffering from the later stages of ghoul fever. - From Habe, it seems that Grayste’s mental trauma was caused by him bearing witness to some unspeakable horrors. - Grayste talks constantly, mostly incoherent mubling but the occasional phrase can be determined…“razors”…“too many teeth”…“the Skinsaw Man is coming”…“he knows where you live”…“he cut them”…“seven points for His Lordship”…he is seemingly unresponsive to physical threats, slaps, questions or anything…he just mumbles over and over the same thing each time… - But when he sees Tia properly for the first time his eyes bulge and he thrashes in his straitjacket until you can hear joints pop and bones snap. All the while he’s laughing and screaming “He said! He said you would come and visit me. Rhual. His Lordship told me your name. A hero from Sandpoint, and so beautiful. It has to be you. Rhula, his Lordship’s precious. He knew. He unmade me and he has a place for you. A precious place. I’m sooo jealous. You are special. He told me to give you a message. I haven’t forgotten. He said that if you come to his Misgivings, if you join his pack, then he will end this harvest in your honour…” - after delivering his message he collapses and issues a low moan. A moan that rises to a shriek and he lurches to his feet. He is limited by the dislocated shoulders and broken arms as well as the straitjacket but he is undeterred. He attacks wildly and without self-preservation. The orderlies rush in to subdue him. In the ruckus, Rayste goes limp and lies still. When the dust settles, he is very very dead. It seems his heart gave way… - A post mortem examination reveals a festering bite on his shoulder. It stinks of rotten dead flesh…

Asking Habe nicely , he will allow the corpse to travel back to town with you…he provided a small cloth sack with some personal effects…when you get a chance to examine these they comprise:

- a small money pouch containing 24gp - a letter of introduction, from Silas to the three merchants, introducing Grayste as his representative and inviting them to Sandpoint to take a tour of the facilities and to discuss a possible business venture that will make them all very rich… - a set of ripped and bloodied clothes…lots of blood in the shoulder region
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03 - Cold, dead merchants...

1. Heading to the garrison from the sawmill, Logan stopped off at the Rusty Dragon to grab his hammers. Ameiko wasn’t impressed with him skipping out at lunchtime.
2. At the garrison they were shown down to the morgue/cells underground…they saw Nabob and the Scarnetti thug before going into the morgue to look at the dead bodies
3. Investigating the bodies from the First Murder…
a. Apparently a patrol of guards on the Lost coast Road were assaulted by a madman near an abandoned barn south of the town, along the banks of the Cougar Creek
b. Madman was obviously insane and very sick too…the guards subbed him and shipped him down to the sanitarium, The Saintly Haven of Respite, south of town…into the care of the owner, Erin Habe.
c. The guards investigated the nearby barn and discovered three dead bodies.
d. Bodies were brought back to the morgue underneath the garrison
e. All three bodies showed signs of torture, with a very sharp, narrow implement
f. All three had the Sidhedron rune carved into their chests and their jawbones removed
g. Personal effects amounted to a letter of introduction, some gold pieces and some fine travelling clothes.
4. Interviewing Ibor Thorn…
a. He was in a holding cell below Sandpoint Garrison
b. Young, good looking but was still very much in shock
c. Apparently Harker had frequent midnight trysts with Katrine…plus her father didn’t know!
d. It seems that Banny was cooking the books and skimming nicely…Ibor told him not to be greedy but Banny couldn’t help himself
e. Ibor is scared, Scarnettis are ruthless..they’ve burnt down rival lumber mills and so he wouldn’t put it past them to have something to do with Banny’s death…Katrine was just unlucky…Ibor’s worried about any kind of retribution towards him when he gets released…
5. On the wagon…
a. Party grab a wagon and head down the coast to the sanitarium…

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02 - Murder at the sawmill...continued

Rula sits in the back of the cart holding on tight, she is buffeted from side to side as the wheels clatter over the uneven cobbled road leading back into town from the sawmill. In front of her was the carefully wrapped but now fully blood stained bodies of Banny Harker (saw mill worker) and Katrine Vinder (a known local girl). The constant movement of the bodies was causing the cart to fill with blood and gore. This did not bother Rula in the slightest, she had become accustomed to mutilation, blood and gore not just during the recent Goblin attacks but she was also brought up and trained by her father as a surgeon.

As a child she was encouraged to dissect cadavers, remove their organs reattach missing limbs etc.. She would practice making the bodies good and then treated them as her friends as any other child would a rag doll…

Up ahead the spire of the Church could be seen, Rula had told Tia that she would be bringing the bodies back to the Church to make them presentable for their family’s to say goodbye and for one of the many Priests to perform last rights.

The cart pulls up slowly outside the Church, as she steps down a scrawny dog darts under the cart and proceeds to lap up the sticky mess starting to pool underneath. Two members of the church appear at the door to meet her.

“Good Afternoon, I was hoping that I might speak with Father Zandus, these poor souls deserve a proper burial and blessing from the Church, I wondered if I may use one of the rooms within the infirmary down in the catacombs in order to prepare them for their return to the soil.”

Rula had spent many days after the Goblin attacks working in the catacombs, sanctioned by Father Zandus who had allocated her space to work. She had proved herself a good asset to the Church by saving a number of lives by applying her surgical skills. And also taken advantage of the privacy this provided to perform some of her own personal experiments on the dead bodies of the more influential members of the town…

The two acolytes bob their heads and move to unload the corpses from the wagon. Respectfully they carry the bodies through the side entrance and down towards the crypts beneath the cold ground.

Rhula shivered, the wind was picking up and had a keen edge. The autumn was drawing to an end and winter’s first touch was a sharp premonition of the cold months ahead. She drew her shawl around her shoulders and headed into the dark interior of the church. Inside, a few locals were sitting in quiet contemplation whilst the choir group glorified Desna through song and chants, under the stern eye of the choirmaster.

Rhula spied Father Zandus and headed over to where he was sitting and waited, quietly, until he noticed her presence by his side.

“Rhula,” he smiled warmly and turned to face her. “So good to see you.”
“And you Father. Sad tidings bring me here I’m afraid.”
“Ah yes, I am aware of the events of last night. Sad tidings indeed. What is it you wish?”
“I have the bodies of the victims, they need to be examined and prepared for their passing. Tia is following with a further corpse and a seriously injured man.”
“Injured? How?”
“A throat wound, serious…he may not live. Tia will tell you more I’m sure…I’m sorry Father, I feel it pressing to attend to the fallen. With your permission?”

Zandus nods and closes his eyes sadly. After a moment he opens them, looks closely at Rhula, and then nods again.

Rhula bobs a courtesy of sorts and turns on her heel. As she heads towards the stairs down to the cooler crypt below her steps quicken. Time is pressing, she reminds herself. Corpses can possess great stores of information as to their last moments, but once the body’s lifeblood stops and starts to congeal, the information begins to fade away until there is nothing left but dust…

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02 - Murder at the sawmill...

1. Heroes head off down to the sawmill to investigate the grisly murders…

2. At the scene of the crime in the sawmill, they determine…
a. Victims are one of the workers, Banny Harker and a local girl Katrine Vinder
b. Discovered by a sawmill worker called Ibor Thorn
c. Guarding the crime scene is big burly Wulfhere, the steady Beorn, and a new guy, Rabbey.
d. Upon entering the mill, they noticed a strong smell of decay and rotting in the air
e. Katrine’s body was found sawn in half by a huge circular saw machine.
f. Her blood is splashed far and wide , all over the walls and ceiling
g. In her blood on the wall was smeared the word “Rhula” in 3’ high letters…implement to ‘write’ appears to have been a hand…
h. Nightthorn determined that the blood on the walls wasn’t just Katrine’s…it contained trace elements of undead blood..the taste of necrosis a foul tang left on his tongue
i. Nightthorn discovered an axe under Katrine’s corpse, seemingly a standard tool in a sawmill…this one had more undead blood smeared all over the blade and upper area of the haft…it seems likely that the axe was used to hit and inflict damage on the undead attacker
j. Rhula determined (but may not have shared?) that the undead taint was from a ghoul
k. At the far end of the sawmill, Banny’s body is hung up on hooks, his chest has the Sihedron rune carved into it.
l. Tia attended to the corpses and helped load them onto wagons to take to the church.
m. Nabob examined the tracks on the floor and discovered muddy footprints mingled in with the other shoe prints. Fairly obviously, judging by the copious amounts of blood spilled in the murder scene and the way the footprints play out in the sawdust, a fierce struggle took place in the mill recently
n. Nightthorn had a poke about outside and discovered a trail of footprints from the pier to the mill and back again, noting that they belong to a barefoot human man who appeared to have clambered up from the mud under the pier, crossed over to the mill, and then scaled the wall and in through a window.
o. Shortly into the crime scene investigation, three thugs pushed their way in and threatened violence if the heroes didn’t leave immediately…when asked, they confirmed they were sent by the owner of the sawmill who didn’t appreciate the interruption to business and the heroes poking their noses around…
p. It all kicked off, fists and clubs were the order of the day.
i. Pagog nut-shotted one thug before breaking the wrist of another.
ii. Logan wrestled with one thug, taking advantage of the distraction caused by Rhula throwing sawdust in his face.
iii. The leader of the thugs took a huge shot and he stumbled back out the door into the yard out the front of the sawmill…the crowd oohed and ahhed
iv. Nabob sprung forward and stabbed the leader in the throat in front of everyone.
v. Tia dived onto the dying man’s body and calling power from her god, prevented his death…for now…
vi. Nabob went back into the sawmill and stood over the thug holding his tackle…mere moments passed before he opened the thug’s throat and he died instantly. Tia tried to save him but to no avail.
vii. The remaining thug with the broken wrist surrendered.
q. Logan confronted Nabob, clearly not impressed with the quickness to murder…

Session ends with Nabob and the broken wrist thug being carted off to the cells…Tia and Rhula heading off to the church with the bodies of the victims and the near-dying thug leader.

XP: Nightthorn, Nabob, Logan, Tia, Rhula and Pagog all gain 1 skill point…to be spent on a skill relevant to the events of the last session or two

FP: +1 FP for the bad guys ’cos the GM wrote the session notes up again :)

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01 - A new face in town...

1. Newcomer, Pagog, meets with the Fat Man in the Fatman’s Feedbag
a. He gets breakfast while discovering that his friend, Ameiko, is the landlady of the Rusty Dragon…

2. Logan meets with Ameiko…
a. She tells him she loves him
b. She complains of feeling unwell
c. He feels there is something she’s not saying…
d. She changes the subject and gets upset about the glassworks and the damn Mercantile League and their controlling ways…she hates the Scarnettis
e. She then asks Logan to speak with Rhula about the balance outstanding on Aldern’s account…some 25gp
f. Also she found some dried flayleaf in Aldern’s old room and wants to have words…again Logan is asked to speak to Rhula to make sure that drugs and the like do not come onto the premises again.
g. If Rhula won’t sort it out then a trip down the Aldern’s manor house may be on the cards…he lives a few hours down the coast and apparently is relatively regular in appearance in Sandpoint.

3. Drek meets with Silas
a. Silas has news, he has setup a meet with some contacts from Magnimar
b. These are dodgy merchants with excellent sea routes and channels available to them
c. Silas has sent a local heavy, Grayste Sevilla, to invite and then escort them to Sandpoint to look at the current setup and discuss business…but he ain’t been seen for a while
d. Silas has incurred some costs…to the tune of some 200gp…Silas insists that Drek is up for half this…Drek scrapes 50gp together but he’s stony broke now, he agrees to Silas financing the outstanding 50gp at a cost of 1% per day

4. Tia meets Father Zandus
a. He asks if she plans on moving on?
b. Turns out that he’d like her to stay longer and help grow the congregation…he’s not getting younger and needs to start lightening his workload

5. Nabob meets with Fat Man
a. The Fat Man wants to know what Nabob is planning on doing…there may be some work for him if the Fat Man has it right what with Naboo asking about certain jewelry and all that…
b. Fat Man gets Nabob to make friends with a new face in town to find out what he’s up to and the like. The new face is an orc mercenary by the name of Pagor.
c. Nabob takes Pagor up to the Rusty Dragon.

6. Nightthorn is bored…
a. He follows is usual routine and heads over to the Rusty Dragon for his usual freebie breakfast with the other ‘heroes’
7. Everyone turns up at the Rusty Dragon…
a. Pagor gets conned into stumping up for breakfast for everyone
b. Ameiko enthusiastically greets Pagor with a bug hug and kisses
c. Big commotion outside, a crowd is moving towards the river and gathering outside the sawmill.
d. A town guard appears and requests Logan, and the heroes, to come meet with Sherriff Hemlock…only Logan goes.

8. Logan meets Sherrif Hemlock
a. There was a double murder at the sawmill last night
i. One of the workers, Banny Harker, and a local girl Katrine Vinder
ii. Pretty horrific by all accounts
iii. Scene has been sealed, can Logan take a few people down and have a nose about?
b. There was a note at the scene which implicates Rhula
c. Hemlock is sure it’s a ruse but there’s possibly some connection with the Heroes
d. Katrine’s sister, Shaylis, is currently with Father Zandus…their father is in lock-up after kicking off violently when told about his daughter’s death…revealed a violent temper, Sherriff is no longer 100% sure about his innocence
e. Hemlock goes on to explain that a couple of murders isn’t that unusual except there was similarities with another gruesome multiple murder discovered a few days ago on the road from Magnimar…
f. The three bodies from that multiple murder are on ice down below…there was a survivor, a local thug called Grayste…but he appears to have gone mad…he’s been committed to the sanitarium just outside of town
g. A message comes in, Hemlock is requested to attend an emergency meeting with Titus Scarnetti and Mayor Deverin about the murders…it seems that Scarnetti wants to shut down the official investigation for some reason
h. Hemlock hypothesises, Scarnetti is the owner of the sawmill…he’s a dodgy one and may be hiding something…Logan is to get down there quick…take some back-up…if Scarnetti’s thugs try and stop him then deal with them, Hemlock has got his back…

9. Meanwhile, Tia can’t help herself and wanders down to the sawmill to see what’s going on…meets a jobsworth town guard, one of the new recruits called Rabbey…
a. He tries to move her on, hasn’t heard of her and is unimpressed by her hero status…seems in awe of Logan though
b. Tia senses she’s getting nowhere and hovers around…

Session ends…

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